Geothermal energy helps Dutch growers hit CO2 target five years early

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the Dutch glasshouse sector have already fallen below its 2020 target, according to the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI), part of Wageningen University & Research Centre.

Image: Wageningen UR
Image: Wageningen UR

CO2 emissions fell 30 per cent between 2010 and 2014, due to lower use of natural gas. Factors contributing to the fall include smaller production area, lower energy consumption per square metre, lower sales of electricity to the grid, and greater use of renewable energy, up 80 per cent over the period due mainly to geothehermal energy sources coming on stream.

An agreement between the Dutch horticultural sector and the Dutch government last year committed the sector to a cut total CO2 emissions, including electricity sales, to 6.2 megatonnes by 2020, but the 2014 figure was just 5.7Mt, down from a 2010 peak of 8.1Mt.

Even adjusting for what was a warm year would yield a figure for 2014 of 6.0Mt, still below the 2020 target, LEI said. 

Manager of the Kas als Energiebron (Glasshouse as Energy Source) programme between government and industry Piet Broekharst said: "This is a great achievement that the horticulture sector can be proud of."

Electricity consumed by the Netherlands' greenhouses actually increased in 2014 to 7.7bn kWh, or 7 per cent of total national consumption. But the sector generated 9 per cent of national consumption, or 10.5bn kWh of electricity, from its use of combined heat and power (CHP).


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